Thursday, July 29, 2021

Hannibal's Secret Weapons

My friend Patrick Hunt from Stanford University presented this lecture in June for the Archaeological Institute of America.  Before I retired, Patrick kindly invited me to join him on one of his National Geographic-sponsored expeditions in the Alps but I had just returned to work after six months recuperation from a serious fall in Naples. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep up with his cohort of burly Stanford athletes at the 8,000 foot altitude of the Clapier-Savine Coche pass. I really enjoyed this lecture and learned some interesting information about the battle of Cannae that I must have overlooked.  Patrick points out that at the battle of Cannae Hannibal took advantage of a seasonal dust storm that is known to blow sand from the Sahara desert into Italy at that time of the year and positioned his troops so that the wind was at their back while it was blowing in the faces of the Romans.  He also mentioned that Hannibal used troops dressed in captured Roman armor from the battles of the Trebia River and Lake Trasimene to help trick the Romans into advancing into his concave center where they could be outflanked.  Patrick's lecture is today's featured "Antiquity Alive" presentation.

Back in 2016, I wrote about another researcher who claimed the Col de Traversette pass was used by Hannibal because of finding a large deposit of horse manure there. Obviously, Patrick disagrees with that conclusion.  You can read my article about it here:

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